Tim Harris, a young man with Down's syndrome, hasn't let his disability stop him from opening a restaurant in New Mexico.
Tim’s Place, a restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, serves up traditional diner favorites such as blueberry pancakes, bacon ‘n eggs, and cheeseburgers—all with a side of hugs.
Dubbed the “world’s friendliest restaurant,” Tim’s Place has served more than 32,400 hugs to hungry customers. The restaurant’s owner, Tim Harris, has made it his mission to hug every visitor who comes in.
Harris, who has Down’s syndrome, has never let his disability get in his way. Since age 14, he’s vowed to own a restaurant. He worked as a restaurant host in high school, and then graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with certificates in Food Service and Office Skills. After that, with his family’s help and support, Harris’ childhood dream became a reality.
Alongside the Mexican and traditional American staples, Tim’s Place’s menu offers “calorie-free” and “guilt-free” hugs, guaranteed to “improve your lease on life.”
“I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends,” Harris told Albuquerque The Magazine.
Customers seem to love it too: Many of the regulars have been going every week ever since the restaurant opened.
To his family’s knowledge, Harris is the only restauranteur in the United States with Down’s syndrome. But they’re hoping he won’t be the last.
Harris wants to help show other people with disabilities what’s possible.
“We’ve had several families with young children with disabilities who have come in or written and said, ‘I never thought this would be possible for my son or daughter,” Harris’ mother, Jeanne, told KRQE News 13. “It’s changing the way they’re thinking as they’re raising their young children.”
Watch the inspiring video about Tim Harris and his restaurant.